Racer Rides: Raffy Rabe’s 1998 Nissan Silvia S14

If your dad is a car guy, then you’ve probably been waiting for that same glorious moment as Raffy Rabe while growing up: when he finally hands you the keys to drive his pride and joy. For the Phoenix Pulse Racing Team’s Young Driver, that long awaited car was his father’s S14.

Photo by The Scene Media

What’s the car?
The car is a 1998 Nissan Silvia S14 or the 200SX, since that was the name when it was released here. There was only about 70 units which were released in the Philippines, luckily my dad was able to get one. It was priced about under a million, around P850-900k pesos, and you still see the local units selling at the same price since theres a high demand for the car–with only 70 units released here, you can say it’s pretty rare.

The proof is in the plates. Photo by Erwin Tan

Tell us more about the S14’s history
Aside from the desirable original LHD configuration, all of the local units had a SR20DET which was a 2.0L 4-cylinder DOHC turbocharged engine. What was special about that was the engine was different from the USDM cars because they had an N/A KA24 engine–so the PHDM version definitely had a better engine.

My dad was the first owner of the car since 1998 and used it in circuit racing and drag racing but, unusually, it was never used in any drifting events. He was part of the original “ClubSilviaPh” group when it was first founded and the Cobalt Green S14 got the nickname “The Green Goblin” since it had a very similar color with the Green Goblin from the first Sam Raimi Spider-Man film.

What kind of shape was it in when you got it?
Before I got the car it had been sitting for about two years without being started! So when my dad handed it to me in 2017, I had to look for a shop who would be able to get the car from my house and restore it to its former glory! That shop was Tomato Garage and I will forever be thankful for them because without Richard Gopez the car wouldn’t be working until now.

After getting it running I placed a lot of mods and upgrades because I wanted a bit more power than the stock turbo, so I upgraded it with a Tomei M7960 turbo which is capable of around 400whp–which is more than enough for me. I gave the car back to Francisco Blanco of Autoplus to get it tuned and the final numbers were 330whp and 327wtq. I would also like to thank Autoplus for supplying me with all their services such as giving the car some 300v love!

We think Rabe’s future child is going to wait for this one too! Photo by Erwin Tan

What’s it like living with a two-decade old car?
I’ve only put around 8k kms on after my dad’s 92k kms and I would be lying if I said it’s easy to maintain a 21 year old car–because honestly it isn’t.

The car broke down on me a couple of times. I had a lot of problems with the car specifically with the S14’s cooling system–a lot of overheating and problems with the A/C which made me look like a basang sisiw coming out of the car a lot of times. The biggest nightmare was probably when the car had no A/C and it was overheating while I was in heavy NLEX traffic and I had to get home to Alabang! Thankfully, there was no traffic after Bocaue so I was able to get home safely without warping the head gasket.

Another major thing was when the original automatic transmission started to slide and it broke down in the middle of the road because it couldn’t handle the power anymore. I had no choice to convert it into a manual transmission. I had to wait a couple of hours in order to get the car towed home. I brought it to DMF for the conversion and the best thing about it was that they finished the full conversion in one day! Thats pretty fast and I was really shocked that they were able to do it that fast!

Mod list time!
Good thing I never had to rebuild the engine myself since my dad did that a couple of years back because of oil starvation–so it has forged internals capable of about 500-550 horsepower!

Photo by Speed GT-R
  • HKS Forged Pistons
  • JUN Forged Connecting Rods
  • Tomei M7960 turbo
  • Tomei Metal Head Gasket
  • Tomei 740cc Injectors
  • Turbosmart External wastegate
  • Blitz Blow off Valve
  • Nismo Oil Cap
  • Cusco Oil Catch Can
  • Sard Fuel Pressure Regulator
  • Adaptronic Standalone Ecu
  • Aftermarket Headers
  • Megan Racing Exhaust
  • HKS Intercooler
  • Koyo Radiator
  • Tuned by Francisco Blanco of Autoplus

Transmission:

  • SR20DET 5-speed Manual Transmission
  • Competition Clutch Stage 3
  • Circuit Sports Short Shifter

Suspension:

  • Tein Flex Coilovers
  • Cusco Front Strut Bar
  • Nismo Rear Strut Bar
  • Nismo Power Brace
  • Front Adjustable Tie rod
  • Rear Adjustable Tie rod
  • Rear Adjustable Camber arm
Photo by Otosthetics

Wheels and Tires:

  • Prodrive GC10-E (Forged) 18×8.5 and 18×9.5
  • Achilles 123s 235/40/R1818 and 265/35/R18

Brakes:

  • Dixcel Slotted Front Rotors
  • Steel Braided Brake lines
  • Project Mu Brake Pads

Exterior:

  • VIS Invader Carbon Fiber Hood
  • JDM kouki wing
  • Stock Kit

Interior:

  • Omori Boost Gauge
  • Personal Steering wheel
  • Apexi Turbo timer
  • ARC Titan Shift Knob
Photo by 2Ner Magazine

One of the special parts is an ARC shift knob that I bought from Hazardboy, the Prodrive GC10-E’s which my dad got from Excellar Enterprise, and lastly, the stock body kit. Because comparing it to every other S14 here in the PH, most of them have aftermarket kits.

Most memorable drive with the car?
My most memorable drive with the car was probably when I first got the car and drove it. I has a really different feeling comparing it to my BRZ or M2. Especially when I changed it to a manual transmission and put a bigger turbo, the experience was so delighting because as a kid the S14 was one of the cars that I always wanted to drive.

The power delivery of the car feels so raw. No computer aids, traction control or whatever–just an old school JDM sports car that wants to give you a memorable drive. That’s why even if the car breaks down a lot I never thought about selling the car because it has something that keeps me hooked!

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